Nurturing our Spirits During Church Closure
Ed. note: This message went out to our Church School families, from Aria Curtis, our Elementary Program Coordinator, but it might be of interest to others in our community as well.
By now, most of you will have heard or seen the announcement that we are suspending onsite Sunday services and church school, and that the church building is closed for the remainder of March. If you have not, please read the Rev. Jon’s message on the UUC website. So, while we will not have our usual RE classes over the next three weeks, we will have opportunities for spiritual engagement for children and families. Please keep your eye out for information about online Children’s Chapel, Youth Chapel, and Sunday Services in the coming days.
In the meantime, there are many ways to nurture our souls and take care of one another in this strange time. Click to read a message from Rebecca Hendrickson about how she is approaching discussing the spread of the coronavirus with children. Rebecca Hendrickson is an MD/PhD biomedical researcher, with a PhD in neuroscience and her area of specialty is psychiatry. She is a UW faculty member and VA medical center employee. Rebecca is managing the clinical research center response to the COVID-19 risk.
Here are some other ideas about how you and your family might nurture your spiritual development and also take care of your community/ies at this time:
- One thing that we often lose when we don’t gather in our usual way is our connection to hymns and other music. I’ve created a playlist on Spotify, which you can contribute and listen to. I’ve pre-populated it with some of my favorite UU-ish songs and hymns, and I encourage you do add your own!
- Walk in the park! My understanding is that transmission of coronoavirus is much less likely in an open-air environment. It’s important that while we don’t gather in large groups, we spend time outside in nature and don’t isolate ourselves entirely. One way we might sustain our mental health is by walking through the park or our neighborhoods with a friend, or simply sitting outside in the sun – it’s starting to come back!
- Volunteer! A large portion of the volunteer forces for food banks and soup kitchens are the elders in our community. Since elders are some of the most at-risk people for coronavirus and should not be gathering in large groups, those of us who are less at-risk can help by filling that void. Please note, some organizations are limiting their volunteer times to protect the health of staff, volunteers, guests, and ministry partners. Anyone who is worried about their own health or the health of those around them should stick to the King County and CDC recommendations for social distancing and not gathering in large groups.
- Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission – has a “new, interim volunteer opportunity. This new role could be helping with transportation, preparing meals, or in other ways at the Mission. To learn more about specific needs to see if it might be a good fit, please contact Glenn Olson.”
- Food Lifeline – help sort and repack nutritious food for people experiencing hunger. *Food Lifeline volunteer sessions are open to families with children ages 6+.
- UUC already has a relationship with Lake City Partners and it looks like there are a variety of ways to volunteer with the organization.
- See what your neighbors need! If you and your family are able, now is a great time to support the neighbors around you who have vulnerable immune systems. They may not be able to go to places like the grocery store, because they should not be gathering with large groups. You might help by bringing them groceries; involve the kids by having them lead the grocery-hunt in the store and talking with them about community care.
- Do any of your friends and/or neighbors work in the medical field? Do they need extra support and/or childcare? See how you might be able to offer them the extra support they might need during this time. What kind of support might you be able to offer to your religious family at UUC? What kind of extra support do you need from your UUC family?
If you have questions about any of the above, please do not hesitate to get in touch. While we are not currently in our offices, UUC staff are all working from home and are receiving emails and voicemails.
In the spirit of love and faith,
Aria Curtis (she/her)
Elementary Program Coordinator
University Unitarian Church